Mobile industry analyst Benedict Evans has crunched the numbers on newly-released tablet sales figures from Asus and arrived at an approximate estimate of total Nexus 7 tablet sales for 2012, which clock in at between 4.5 and 4.8 million units per his math. Google doesn’t release sales figures for its Nexus devices, so this is likely the closest we’ll get to a solid number on the 2012 totals, and how they might compare to the continued success of Apple’s iPad.
Evans estimates that based on Asus’s reported sales of 6.3 million tablets in 2012, and verbal statements from the CEO which gave a rough estimate of sales to date of the Nexus 7 as of October, the Nexus 7 likely sold around 2.2 million units between the end of Q2 2012 and during Q3, as well as around 2.4 million during Q4. He compares that to around 10 million in iPad mini sales during its first and only availability through Q4 of 2012, despite a launch halfway through the quarter. That estimate is based on the average selling price of the iPad mini, combined with Apple’s revenue figures and tablet sales numbers, since Apple doesn’t break out iPad sales by model.
The upshot is that what we’re seeing from engagement numbers and browser share is likely still a good representation of how the actual tablet market is shaking out: Apple is dominating, and its decision to enter the smaller-screened market is either helping it stall the progress of others, or doing nothing to jeopardize its position at the top.
Consider that Apple sold 22.9 million iPads during just its first fiscal quarter of 2013, which is the last calendar quarter of 2012. That’s five times the amount of Nexus 7 tablets Evans estimates were sold during the entire year in 2012, which indicates we’re still very far away from a situation where the tablet market begins to look anything like the smartphone space in terms of Android share.
Google looks to be set to try to kickstart its tablet sales efforts with physical retail locations, a rumor that started this past weekend and was backed up by the Wall Street Journal today. I’ve already noted that I think this is a play to help the company try to replicate some of Apple’s success with selling and evangelizing the iPad through its physical retail locations, but these sales estimates underline exactly why the company needs to do that.